I. B. M. Youth

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Magic Youth International (M.Y.I.) was the highly respected junior branch of the International Brotherhood of Magicians (I.B.M.). The global membership of the I.B.M. actively supported this dynamic youth-focused program to promote, educate and enhance the activities of young magicians around the world.

Magic Youth International was originally founded in 1955 by Robert J. Watson and Keith Halbasch, two Chicago teenage magicians. As a correspondence club, teen members shared their magic-related ideas, skills and experiences through personal letters. The letters were compiled into a simple newsletter called PIPS.

With college looming in 1959, Robert and Keith released full control of the club to their adult adviser and magic peer Jess James. Under Mr. James' management, the club spread to cities across the Midwest United States.

In 1963, Dale Salwak organized a competing Indiana-based teen magic correspondence club called The Magic Club of America (M.C.A.). Fellow Hoosiers, Steve Kelley and Greg Heeter formed a cooperative club called The International Club of Magic (I.C.M.) featuring their teen magic journal Top Hat.

The three clubs merged in 1966 under Mr. James' Magic Youth International banner retaining the popular Top Hat as the official club journal. This merger made Magic Youth International the third largest magic club in the United States behind The International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians (S.A.M.).

The I.B.M. created a youth membership in 1994. International President John R. Brown III and Youth Committee chairman Steve Burton led the adoption of Magic Youth International as the official I.B.M. youth branch in 1998.

The I.B.M. executive board reorganized and rebranded M.Y.I. as I.B.M. Youth in 2012. This stellar program continues to serve as an educational and social network for magicians and magic enthusiasts between the ages of 7 through 17 years. I.B.M. Youth has chapters around the world generally affiliated with adult I.B.M chapters (called Rings).

When a member turns 18, he or she graduates to full membership in the International Brotherhood of Magicians.


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